Frequently Asked Questions

  • Guitar lesson questionsAvailability-Tuesdays and Wednesdays, usually late afternoon and evening
  • Location-Gresham-SE 165th and Burnside
  • Price-$90 per month, four half-hour lessons, first lesson free (Note: price will go up to $100 per month in March 2018)
  • Acoustic guitar
  • Electric guitar
  • Piano
  • Music Theory
  • Folk-Fingerstyle and rhythm
  • Rock-Leads and rhythm
  • Blues-Leads and rhythm
  • Metal-Leads and rhythm
  • Worship-Open Chord Acoustic Technique, contemporary piano
  • World/ethnic-Celtic, Spanish styles

 

I love music, but I’m slow at catching on.  Teachers get impatient with me!

Hey, if you’re just starting, relax.  It’s normal to make mistakes and to feel a bit awkward.  A new skill takes time.  That’s why you’re here!  Everyone goes at their own pace.  And since it’s private lessons, not a class you don’t have to worry about being ahead or behind the group.  This is YOUR time to learn.

 

What days are you available?

While being currently busy with working at a shipping company, as well as projects of my own and living across the river, lessons are available on Tuesday and Wednesday, usually late afternoon and evening.  I take other days on a case-by-case basis.  If you can’t make either other those days, give me a call and we’ll see if we can work something out.

 

Why would I need lessons if there’s so much free information online?

I have no problem with learning online or from books.  But what if I showed you how to use these resources more effectively with an overall goal and structure?  With lessons you get mentorship, which inspires students to go further in a shorter amount of time. 

One the complaints I hear is that the online resources give too much advanced information too fast.  It’s also hard to focus with so many random videos and websites, and trying to navigate through the noise.  I’ll help you through all that.

As for paying, both student and teacher take it more seriously when money’s involved.  Commitment motivates you to give everything you have to get the most out of your investment.

 

Where do you teach out of?

I teach guitar lessons in the Fairview/Gresham area out of Dosay Records music studio in East Portland, which is run from a married couple’s home with a family-friendly atmosphere.

 

Why should I take lessons from you instead of someone else?

Good question and fair enough.  I can’t speak for the other instructors in the city, since I don’t know them and everyone runs their business differently.  I tend to get students in the Gresham/East Portland area.  Some instructors are a better fit than others, but here is what I have to offer:

  • Communication and patience-Teaching is a very different skill than playing.  Not all great musicians are great communicators.  I’ve heard people complain of instructors who go too fast on the concepts or just jam while the student sits there not comprehending.  That’s why I constantly reiterate and make sure the student understands the concept before moving on.  Showing a complicated skill to another person requires lots of communication, listening skills and patience.
  • Experience and Methods-I’ve spent a lot of my time researching various learning methods, as well as experience with teaching many age groups and styles of learning.  I look for methods to make the playing as efficient and simple as possible.  It’s top priority that we take it step by step, and make sure you understand the material, because I want you to get the most out of your time and money.
  • Contemporary and traditional-My approach is typically a mixture of playing songs you know and some basic fundamentals all musicians should know like timing, theory, etc.  Academics are important for foundations, but playing your favorite songs keeps you motivated.
  • Location-Some instructors operate out of their home, others from a music store, church, etc, which is fine.  Some are closer to downtown, whereas this is in the suburbs, where parking is easier.  Guitar Lessons Made Simple is run from DosayRecords Studio, a family-run studio with access to a piano, music stands, lots of space, a waiting room with a comfy couch and television, and even a drumset and recording studio which just makes it feel awesome.
  • Variety-I teach acoustic guitar, electric guitar and piano, in most styles, fingerstyle, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, etc.

 

I don’t live in Gresham or East Portland.  Will you travel or have other options?

I also teach at a church in Vancouver, Washington on Thursday, if you’re in the ‘Couv stop on by.  I take traveling to other places on a case by case basis.

 

What if there’s a fifth week in the month?

Since I go by the month rather than the actual number of weeks, that fifth week tends to confuse people so I’ll try to explain it here.

If there are five weeks of lessons that month, the fifth week is free of charge on a use it or lose it basis.  What means is if you show up on all five weeks you get the extra lesson.  So if you paid on the second week of March, you’ll still pay on the second week of April.  This makes it easier for me to keep track of payments and months.

If you’re gone on any of the weeks you will still get four lessons and we will adjust assuming you’ve called in and arranged it.  (Noshows or call-ins at the time of the lesson are considered one lesson and don’t get adjusted).  The reason for this is to save me from the nightmare of record keeping that comes from trying to adjust five week months when people call in.

Example: you have a lesson on Wednesday the 1st, then the 8th, the 15th, the 21st, and then the 29th will make it a fifth month.  You paid last month on the second week, and will also pay the second week of this month on the 8th.  Show up to all the lessons and you get that extra week.  Call in for one and you still get four weeks, and continue to pay on the second week.  If you called in for two weeks (arranged ahead of time), then you’ve gotten 3 weeks, so I can adjust so you pay on the 3rd week of next month.

So in other words, show up for every lesson, pay on time and everything works out great.

Sorry for the confusion, I hope that makes it clear.

 

What if I don’t show up?

If you arrange ahead of time (at least couple of hours) I can adjust your week of payment, just so long as I know and can plan accordingly.  Text is best, because I’m a bit slower catching up on email, and definitely not Facebook.  As I’m getting more and more people calling, I have to take advantage of my time, so the sooner I know, the better.

If you don’t show up without arrangement you’ll still have to pay for the lesson. 

But really why would you want to do that?  Then I basically come to the studio and sit there wondering if you’re actually showing up.  Then I have to call or text you to figure out what’s going on, and it’s basically not a fun experience.

I realize emergencies happen and generally I treat each situation by how well I know the student and how much they’ve done it.  But please remember since this is not a class, this is one-on-one, so it affects me and my time, and hurts you as well, because you’re not getting the most out of your lessons.

 

You sound kind of religious.  Would I fit in even if I’m not into that?

Not to worry, though I do teach worship at my church, this business is not in itself religious.  I’m familiar with many genres, secular as well as Christian.  This is a family atmosphere, but if you accidentally cuss I probably won’t kick you out, I would more likely laugh at you.

 

Does this involve practice?

But of course!  I know you’re busy, but you’ll always make time for what’s important.  Your assignment is practice, my job is to motivate and inspire your practice, and teach self-motivation which helps in all areas of life.

 

Will it hurt my fingers?

The first week or two is the hardest, but then fingers develop callouses and it gets easier.  Sometimes it can be the way your guitar is set up as well.  If you want some ideas to help with sore fingers, here’s an article I wrote on the subject.

  

Do I get to keep my long nails?

Nails interfere with playing chords on the left hand, so you’ll need to cut them if you want to play guitar.

 

I don’t have a guitar.  Do you have any extra guitars there?

If you take lessons you’ll need to bring your own guitar.  You can buy or rent one or you can borrow one from a friend.  I personally go to Portland Music Company.  I’d be happy to help you if you call me for advice on buying a guitar, or if you want to meet for your first free lesson talking about it, but you’ll need one by the next week.  Here’s an article on choosing your first guitar which a few guitarists including myself contributed to.

 

Do you teach kids?

If your child is musically inclined I would recommend the piano to start, which I do teach.  The piano is easier on the fingers and provides a solid musical foundation.

The studio is in a family friendly home and as a general practice the parent needs to be with the child during the lesson.  You might even learn something as well!

 

How long will it take till I get good?

Usually students are playing songs in a months or two, but everyone is different.  This is your rockstar path.  I work to tailor the plan to your goals, interests and personality.  You get what you put into it.  Getting good comes with time and practice!

 

How much do you charge?

I charge $90 (going up to $100 in March) by the month for four half-hour lessons, one every week.  Payment is on the first week of your month.  Paying a month at a time shows more commitment, than one lesson at a time, and that way we don’t need to worry about paying every week.

 

Do you teach note reading?

Note reading is a great tool and a good fundamental skill.  But most of my students are adults and teenagers who want to get better for their band or play songs at church, while staying busy with work or school.  I try to be as practical as I can and give the most useful information for their needs and so don’t force them to learn notes unless they specifically ask for it.

If you do want the more academic approach I would suggest the Berklee Method series and a basic theory workbook which I can help you with.

 

Do you help prepare student for music college?

Yes, I’ve taken music at both Mt. Hood and Portland Bible College and can help prepare students for theory, ear-training, etc.

 

I have two kids who want to take lessons.  Or I want to take lessons with a friend.  Will you give a discount for two students?

Yes.  Normally one student is $90 a month.  Two students will be $170.  This arrangement would give a half-hour private lesson for each student back-to-back for a total of an hour.  Buddy lessons are a fun activity for family and friends to do together and you can help each other during the week.  Sometimes we can even get a duet jam going!

 

If you have any other questions or concerns give me a ring at 503 807 3557 or email me at Josh@guitarlessonsgresham.com.

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